I was recently accused on another blog of repeating a defeatist mantra.
My “mantra” has always been WE CAN GO NOW. The solutions are crystal clear to anyone who takes a survey of the available technology. What blinds people is their unwillingness to accept the cost of making it happen.
There is no cheap.
Paul Gilster comments on his blog Centauri Dreams, concerning Radiation, Alzheimer’s Disease and Fermi;
“Neurological damage from human missions to deep space — and the study goes no further than the relatively close Mars — would obviously affect our planning and create serious payload constraints given the need for what might have to be massive shielding.”
This is the game changer. The showstopper. The sea change. The paradigm shift.
The cosmic ray gorilla. Whatever you want to call it, it is the reality that most of what we are familiar with concerning human space flight is not going to work in deep space.
Massive Shielding=Nuclear Propulsion=Bombs
We have to transport nuclear materials to the Moon where we can light off a nuclear propulsion system. The Moon is where the ice-derived Water to fill up a Massive radiation shield is to be found.
Massive Shield=Water=Lunar Base
So, first and last, we need an HLV to get to this Lunar Base (where the Water for the shield is) and we need to safely transport Nuclear material there (and safely assemble and light off the Bombs to push the shield around).
Radiation shielding is the first determining factor in spaceship design and this largely determines the entire development of space travel.